Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Pess (for Press)

The word press has many meanings, most of which are fairly pleasing: printing press, wine press, cheese press, coffee press, bench press, cider press, alternative press, etc. Take care when typing the domain name for, however. If you write wordpess by mistake, you'll be unceremoniously rerouted to a tricky and annoying "ad/link page." (Just one more reason to try and avoid making typos.) Perhaps the most pessimistic use of the word can be found with regard to the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, where the only male "witch" (Giles Corey) was subjected to a slow torturous death by "pressing" (a form of what's known in French as peine forte et dure). The female "witches" were all drowned. But let's press on to happier thoughts. There are 47 examples of Pess in OhioLINK, most of which seem to be typos for Press. If any of these are oppressing your own database, just put the cursor after the P and press R.

(Engraving of printer using the early Gutenberg letter press during the 15th century, artist unknown, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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